Has their ever been a time that one could discuss religion or topics in a rational way, at least on here? First of all when it comes to religion and discussions then one would be talking about discussions that would possibly involve Islam, Christianity, Judaism or the like. While Christians have made up the bulk of those who are religious, in America, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and in America. Then there is a large presence of Atheist on the board and the question arises is Atheism a religion itself and views along that line.
Then there is the questions and discussions that would be targeted to Christians alone but usually those end up being knock down drag out verbal confrontations as disagreements between conflicting Christian areas such as Catholic and non-Catholic or Mormon, or Jehovah's Witness although there are many Christians who argue that Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses are not Christians, at all, but a religion to themselves such as Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.
So can there be rational discussions even with Bill gone? Time will tell. Bill's main problem with relating to others and playing nicely, my own opinion mind you, was that there was a lack of respect, on his part, for others of differing opinion. Bill was very dogmatic in his beliefs and usually had a justification for those beliefs even though at times that justification was solely relying upon his own narrow version of Scripture or his own narrow interpretation.
With any dialog where there are conflicts of opinion there should be respect of another's opinion and while disagreements are common and expected when you argue or debate there should be mutual respect and civility among those participating such that the argument doesn't get personal and degrade into insults rather than disagreements. Sadly there are people that you cannot debate against due more to personalities rather than intelligence or opinion.
So as I said before, time will tell. One thing I am quite certain of though. Given Bills absence and banning and based solely upon past experiences I will most likely inherit the reputation of posting the most lengthy and wordy responses. So if I do continue to post I will try and make a conscience effort to remain focused on the topic, at hand, and not diverge into too many off topic conversations and at least stay on the topic of the discussion. Then again I don't come by and check the Religion board near as much as I used to either so mayby I'll just relinquish it to other, more capable, debaters or pontificators.